Ending a relationship

Ending a relationship is a weird and complicated series of events. At least for me it is.

C and I broke up (the last of many times) in September. At that point we had been together for almost six years. We knew that neither of us were happy with the long distance and that something needed to change. But nothing could change. I was here in New York beginning my two year grad school program. He was almost three hours away in the second year of his Ph.D. program. Neither of us would be leaving our current cities for at least two years. So we decided to break up. I really believe it was the best decision. I cried that night and mourned the loss of a great boyfriend and many happy times together. But the next morning I woke up in a good mood. I felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt lighter. I felt freer. I knew I would be happier this way.

A few weeks later I started casually dating New Boy. He was super cute, funny, and made me feel important. But he was also immature, unambitious, and moving to Queens in a few weeks. So our fling lasted almost two months. It ran its course; it was fun and made me forget about C for a while. Mission accomplished.

Then I started the saga of online dating. Match.com, Eharmony, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid. I immersed myself in the dating scene for six months. At the highest (or lowest, depending on your point of view) point I went on 5 dates with 5 different men in one week. Most of the dates went no where. I saw a couple guys a few more times, but I never met anyone with whom I wanted anything more.

During this time C and I had been in contact, but nothing more than a short online chat to see how things were going. I knew he was dating another girl (Facebook is evil!), but I wanted no details. He came to visit once in October which was one of the most painfully awkward lunches I’ve ever endured. We were moving on.

In March I went to Las Vegas for Spring Break. The entire time I was thinking about C. I sent him a few texts throughout the week and he replied with hints of flirtation. When I got back to New York we started talking on the phone again. At first it was only once a week. He was still dating someone else, of course. And we were “just friends”.

C came to visit again in April. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that story. He ended up spending the night and staying the entire next day. It was perfect- sushi, cupcakes, cuddles, the Brooklyn Bridge, and lots of I miss you’s. That’s when I believe “we” started again.

He ended things with the other girl as soon as he got home. We started talking every day. He made plans to come visit again. We began talking about the future. We knew there was a possibility I might not stay in New York, but we didn’t really think I would be leaving. We began talking about ways to fix our broken relationship and what we needed to be happy.Throughout this conversation we both decided that we didn’t want to do long distance anymore, but if I stayed in New York we would try to work it out. However, we decided if I went back to Texas we would end things. Over the past six years we have dealt with thousands of miles between us and we know how difficult it is. We want a relationship with each other, not with a telephone.

So I kept  job hunting, making phone calls, emailing resumes, and ultimately hitting dead ends. I wanted to stay in New York. I wanted to make things work between us, but it didn’t seem to be working out that way.

I never found a job in New York.

I made the decision to move back to Texas.

And therefore, I, by default, made the decision end things with C.

We talked yesterday, the first real conversation we’ve had since I told him I was moving back to Texas. There had been text messages and brief gchats, but no phone calls. I had been trying to avoid him. But we talked. He told me he felt used and like I took advantage of him. I told him I was sorry but that was not my intention at all. I told him that I miss him, but I really could not come visit him before I leave as it would make me too sad. We talked about his possible trip to Texas in August and I said I would make a point to see him if he came.

It was sad and frustrating and full of love, all at the same time.

You see, our relationships is complicated. I love C, I really really love him. I love him, but a really small part of me knows that he is not the right person for me to be with forever. So I’m hoping that this move to Texas will help me figure out how to gracefully move on.

Is there a way to gracefully move on, somehow keep the other person in your life, and still have no one get hurt?


20 responses to “Ending a relationship

  1. I think the way to move on gracefully is to live for yourself. Make no excuses. Do what makes you smile. Move to Texas. Live alone. Dance until your feet hurt. Watch sappy movies that make you cry. Run in the park barefoot. Whatever it is, do it for you.

    Big hugs as you get through all of this.

  2. I think the best way to do that is with time. You can’t force it. But eventually you’ll both get to a place where you feel better about the whole thing, and maybe then you can come back in each other’s lives.

  3. I agree with Jess. What I did with A – not talking to him for a few weeks and then getting fully involved again was NOT the right thing to do. Give it time and things will make sense. You already know that he’s not your person that you’re supposed to be with..the rest of you will catch up.

    People get hurt. It’s how life is. But being able to shake it off and keep on going is what matters. Do what you need to do for you

  4. I think the first two parts of your last request are possible, but not the first. It’ll definitely hurt. Not forever, but for a while.

  5. That is a heartbreaking story, it reminds me of something I heard a long time ago; “sometimes love just isn’t enough”. I heard that on some corny TV show (OTH I think it was) and it’s always stuck with me, because it’s heartbreaking to think that sometimes LOVE just isn’t enough, but it’s the truth, it just isn’t not in this world! I’m really sorry to hear that but it sounds like you are doing what’s best for you and I’m sure at some point you will move on and look back on this and be SO happy you made that decision.

    On a totally separate note, I’m doing research on the online dating phenomenon for an article and possible blogpost. If you are willing to share some of your experiences (you can be anonymous) I’d love to hear them. I’m just looking for stories/experiences good or bad. My email is amber (at) girlwiththeredhair (dot) com.

  6. The more I experience, the more I come to think that nothing in life happens gracefully. It’s usually messy instead. But, that doesn’t mean there’s no moving on or that you two can’t be friends. You’ll work it out. You already are.

    This post was really beautifully written, Ashley.

  7. Yes you can. Time and distance help that. I hope you and C get to that place of being freinds who deeply care for one another and have each others best interest at heart. As Nora said, live for you. The rest will follow.

  8. Time. It just takes time. It’s so hard to see clearly during this part and it seems like the hurt will never go away, but it will. And you’ll gain a whole new perspective. It took me a LONG time to learn that lesson. It’s gonna hurt for awhile, and I think that’s actually a good thing. It’s good to mourn and hurt and FEEL. Maybe you guys can re-connect later, but if you already know deep down that he’s not the one for you, don’t hold on to it and waste your time. Live your life. Move back to Texas. Do things that make YOU happy.

  9. So I’m not much of a crier, but for some reason, reading this post almost brought me to tears…at work. Falling in love is amazing and horrible. I wish I had good advice to give you, but the only thing that ever works for me is cutting the person off until you meet someone new, which it sounds like you’ve already tried.

    I truly hope that moving back to Texas will help you move on from C…and maybe you’ll meet someone else soon. I really hope so 🙂

  10. Aw, I’m sorry things had to end between you two. I believe things happen for a reason. Back in the old dating days for me – I know not talking to that boy helps me with moving on. Maybe that’s what you two need to do first before you can be truly friends without feeling hurt and sad? :-/

  11. isn’t it funny how there can be someone that you truly love and you can’t be with them? because you know they aren’t the perfect fit or it’s just not the right time/place. sometimes i wonder if it’s the universe’s joke to have so much love for someone you have to let go…

  12. i TOTALLY know how you feel! you want to keep them in your life as a friend but don’t know if you can without getting attached or hurt again. it’s such a fine line. the ex and i are just now back on texting terms after not talking or texting or anything for about six months. i think we are both ready to move on which is why we can be friendly now. but i definitely think you should try to minimize your communication with him for a while and hopefully can be friends in the future.

  13. To answer your last question, I think the answer is no.

    I went through something similar just a month or so ago. It sucks. Distance sucks. But it seems like you both gave it all you had, so if it’s meant to be, it probably will.

    Hang in there!

  14. Absolutely not. Not in my experience, anyway. And those experiences are painfully clear on my blog.

  15. Unfortunately in my experience, this is an extremely difficult thing to do and I was not able to stay friends with my Ex.

    I really wish you the best. You are so incredibly strong. 🙂

  16. I don’t know about gracefully moving on, but moving on I believe is possible. As far as no one getting hurt…someone always gets hurt it is inevitable, but I believe with time we all heal. It takes a conscious effort on your part though to do whatever it takes to let go of that person… that’s the hard part.

  17. I’m going through something similar right now. I’m moving across the country in a month and a half and we knew the distance would be too much but it’s still pretty painful right now. Sigh. If only there were a way to do it without anyone getting hurt…

  18. I have seen this done before. The graceful ending of a relationship wherein both parties are still friends with one another, although I have not experienced this.

    I have one set of friends who broke up about six years ago, and one has been in a relationship for the last 2 or 3 years..the two originals are still friends, but whenever there is a meet up where new girlfriend has to meet with old girlfriend, the tension is always super thick.

    In a perfect world, everyone could move on and be friends, but I feel as though a lot of the time it just hurts too much to push all feelings aside.

  19. With a love like that, I’ve never had success keeping any sort of relationship. But if you do, please divulge your secret 🙂

    In all seriousness, I think you made the right decision. You totally didn’t take advantage or “use” C, he should know that. This is just the way life has worked out. And you know from past experience that more distance wouldn’t work, so you’re making the best — and hard — decision for both of you.

    Go you!

  20. Good question…if you discover the answer, let us know! 😉
    I think it’s always best to remain classy in these types of situations… and I think you’ll have no problem in this!

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